Using Videos to Sell More Books

Angela and I are in the process of creating our business plan for the year, which involves us pulling together all the current information on the industry to decide where our writing and marketing efforts should be focused. Visibility is hard to come by these days; to reach readers, it’s vital that we be open to using various forms of media and technology.

For this reason, I’m very excited that Tom Corson-Knowles is here today to talk about using videos as a way to connect with readers. I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve never uploaded anything to YouTube, and the closest I’ve come to making a video is me recording my kids’ half-pipe attempts during the Olympics. Videos can be used in SO many ways to build an author’s brand and increase visibility, so I’m excited Tom has decided to share his knowledge with us.


To me, being an author is all about relationships. The better relationships you build, the more successful you will be, both in life and as an author. And one of the best ways to build relationships is through education. Everyone loves to learn, especially readers! If you can build stronger relationships while educating your readers, this could easily result in increased sales of your books.

Videos as a Marketing Tool

One of the best ways to build relationships and educate people is with online video. This medium is a lot more interactive than text or still images because, on video, readers will be able to hear your voice and passion; it gives them a chance to get to know you a little bit better. 

For nonfiction authors, it’s easy to create videos that will resonate with your audience. For example, if you write books about dog training, simply record a series of videos that answer FAQs from dog owners. These videos can be short—no longer than ten minutes or so—but the value of answering your audience’s questions is enormous. And the more value you add, the better relationships you’ll have. And you already know what that means: more sales.

For fiction authors, you might have to be a little more creative when deciding what information you want to share with your audience. Here are some ideas to get your juices flowing:

  • Create videos that give readers an insight into who you are and why you wrote your book(s).
  • Do a virtual “book reading” and post it on YouTube (or record a live book reading and post that video).
  • Create a video trailer for you book.
  • Do video reviews of other books.
  • Bring in guests and host a discussion on topics that figure largely into your book

How to Create a Video

Do you have an iPhone, Android phone, or other smart phone? If so, it comes with a built-in video camera. Most smartphones in the last 3-4 years will take high quality video so you can use them for simple videos. In fact, the iPhone has professional-level video quality (as do many Android phones) so you probably don’t need to buy a camera at all. You can purchase a microphone to get better audio quality, but I started without one, and so can you, if you’re on a budget. If you’re looking for a high quality microphone for video recording, you can find a good one for between $50 and $500.

You can also use your computer to record videos. Laptops now have built-in cameras. If your desktop computer doesn’t have one, you can buy a webcam for less than $50.

Now that you’ve got what you need to start recording, it’s time to publish your videos!

Posting Your Videos on YouTube

YouTube is now the world’s second largest search engine (after, and it’s the biggest site for video online. Another big one is Vimeo, but if you want to do things the easy way, start by focusing on YouTube.

First, sign up for an account at YouTube. Click “upload” or go here to upload your video, and in just a few minutes, depending on your file size and internet connection, your video will be live for the world to see!

You’ll want to set up your video so its as easy as possible for your audience to find. Here’s a short video tutorial on how to do that. By the way, I used Camtasia to record that video. If you want to record “screen capture videos” of your computer screen, you can use software like Camtasia or Screenflow, which cost between $99 and $299. You can also use free software like Jing. The downside with Jing is that you can only record videos up to 5 minutes long, and it is missing numerous other features that the higher-end software offers.

That’s it! Now you’re ready to start recording. If you have any questions about how to create videos, post them to YouTube, or sell more books using video, I’ll be happy to answer them!

About The Author:

2009-11-02 17.36.43-2Tom Corson-Knowles is the international bestselling author of The Kindle Publishing Bible and 19 other books. He is also the founder of, a free video training program for authors, and TCK Publishing, an eBook publishing company that specializes in publishing and marketing Kindle books online. You can connect with Tom on Twitter or Facebook.


Becca Puglisi is an international speaker, writing coach, and bestselling author of The Emotion Thesaurus and its sequels. Her books are available in five languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world. She is passionate about learning and sharing her knowledge with others through her Writers Helping Writers blog and via One Stop For Writers—a powerhouse online library created to help writers elevate their storytelling. You can find Becca online at both of these spots, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.
This entry was posted in Guest Post, Marketing, Promotion, Publishing and Self Publishing, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Using Videos to Sell More Books

  1. Jenny says:

    I created a book trailer using Animoto. It’s not ‘high’ quality but it turned out pretty good. There is a decent list of music and formats you can use and I think it’s a great way to get your feet wet. You can add your own voice and video if you wish, so if you want to play around, I suggest trying out the free version. I have to admit it was fun.

  2. Have to keep this in mind.

  3. Robyn LaRue says:

    I want to. I need to. Time to get over the shy and get it done.

  4. C. Lee McKenzie says:

    I’ve been considering some video and this is super information to have. All I need now is for my computer to actually work again. 🙁 I’m close to having that happen, but it’s taken days.

    p.s. I’ve left something for you here: Hope you like it.

  5. This is great information to have, even for those of us who are too nervous to do it just yet ;). Thanks so much for being here today, Tom.

  6. So true. Video is where its at these days. I just took Brenden Burchards course on marketing and let me tell you, he swears by video and publishing on YouTube and anywhere else you can. With 330k followers on Facebook, he can’t be wrong.

    Great post Tom.
    BTW, Camtasia is the best of the best!

  7. Bish Denham says:

    I’m such a dinosaur. I don’t have an iphone or android or even a video camera! However, this is still great information to have.

  8. Julie Musil says:

    I’ve never considered doing this! Seems too intimidating. My teen sons wouldn’t be concerned about this, but I would. Thanks for the tips.

  9. Interesting idea about doing a reading on video. I’d almost just rather do an audio file. lol

    • Audio is fine, but you won’t get the same interaction you get with video, especially on sites like YouTube. Video is always best because you can always strip the video later and convert it into an mp3 for pure audio. With video, you get it all. If you’re going to spend the time to record audio, you might as well record the video too.

  10. Lori Schafer says:

    Thanks for the informative post, Tom. I’m curious as to whether anyone here has had any experience using the YouTube advertising. It seems like a fairly inexpensive method of promotion, but I’m doubtful as to how well it would actually work for a fiction author. Any feedback would be appreciated!

    • Hey Lori,

      You’re welcome! I wouldn’t recommend advertising one of your YouTube videos until it’s proven to convert traffic into sales. Most YouTube advertisers are selling higher priced or higher margin products than a book. It’s hard to make a profit advertising if you’re only earning $1-$5 in royalties when you make a sale. If you’re a nonfiction author with backend products, advertising would make a lot more sense because your LTV (lifetime value) of a customer would be a lot higher.


  11. Thanks for the tips on using videos, including the practical how-to-do-it help. If I ever get a book published, I’ll definitely consider it.

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